Carl’s Jr. brags about its Original $6 Burger, Burger King touts its Angus Steak Burger and McDonald’s proudly debuted the Angus Third Pounder on Monday. As these premium beef patties eat up a big chunk of the market, some say fast food is going high class. “With McDonald’s entering the fray now, that adds even more credit to the fact that consumers are accepting and willing to buy items that are more premium quality and that carry a somewhat higher price,” said food consultant Robert Sandelman of Sandelman & Associates in San Clemente. The upscale burgers come after chains such as Chipotle, Panera Bread and Baja Fresh proved there are plenty of people willing to fork over a bit more for a quick meal in a more refined environment, Sandelman said. “The line of $6 burgers is a very important source of sales,” he said. What might prevent the Original $6 Burger – and other premium burgers – from widespread stardom is the price. The chain’s top seller, the Famous Star, costs about $1.99, or less than half the price of its big brother. “That tends to have somewhat of a limiting effect on how many you sell,” Haley said. [email protected] (818) 713-3735 What our panel said McDonald’s Angus Third Pounder Weight: 1/3 of a pound Calories: 760 Price: $3.99 Winning score: 72 (out of 80) Comments: “Best in class.” “Best looking of all.” “Very impressive, fresh veggies, thick patty, nice bun.” In-N-Out Double Double Weight: 1/4 of a pound Calories: 670 Price: $2.85 Score: 66 Comments: “Good and tasty.” “The sauce and condiments make this burger even better.” Fatburger’s Fatburger Weight: 1/3 of a pound Calories: 520 Price: $4.49 Score: 63 Comments: “Great flavor.” “Patty was ‘homemade.’ Worth a second bite.” Carl’s Jr. Original $6 Burger Weight: 1/2 of a pound Calories: 1010 Price: $4.49 Score: 54 Comments: “Looks inviting. Isn’t.” “To the hungry eye, looks like it could fill anybody up.” Burger King’s Angus Steak Burger Weight: 1/3 of a pound Calories: 640 Price: $3.89 Score: 36 Comments: “Didn’t taste like a hamburger.” “Not very appealing.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Owners of McDonald’s restaurants in Southern California developed the Third Pounder over the past three years, and it is the first new burger on the menu since the Big N’ Tasty debuted a decade ago, company officials said. The Third Pounder is available only in the Southern California market. “It’s just a matter of rounding out our menu,” said Scott Frisbie, whose family owns 17 McDonald’s restaurants in Orange County. “Consumer tastes have developed over the years. We felt the time was right, we could bring in a larger, premium burger.” McDonald’s new burger is made with one-third of a pound of beef and sells for about $4. Like burgers made by rival Burger King and Carl’s Jr., it’s made from Angus beef, a breed developed in Scotland. Burger King’s premium patty is one-third of a pound and sells for $3.89. Carl’s Jr. top-shelf burger is a half-pounder and sells for $4.49. The Original $6 Burger has become one of Carl’s Jr.’s best sellers since its debut in 2004, marketing executive Brad Haley said.